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October 28, 2017 5:41 am

Games CEO “Ecstatic About the Crowds”

Saturday, February 21, 2015 @ 8:00 AM
Big crowds have been at Kin1 watching short-track speed skating all week - photo 250News

Big crowds have been at Kin1 watching short-track speed skating all week – photo 250News

Prince George, B.C. – With one week in the books, Canada Winter Games CEO Stu Ballantyne says he’s ecstatic with attendance at sporting venues so far.

“For the most part it’s exceeded expectations. We’ve had crowds at archery, the archers and the target shooting athletes aren’t used to seeing a lot of people in the crowd and cheering and it’s a very different dynamic for them.”

And then there’s the hordes of people at Kin1 for short-track speed skating.

“It’s a very exciting and dynamic sport. I think the venue is perfect – it’s got the right number of seats for that sport. It’s a brand new beautiful venue and I think the volunteers have done an amazing job to make it friendly for spectators to take it all in.”

However he says he wishes more people would head out to watch the hockey competition.

“I think we’re a little disappointed with the CN Centre and the woman’s hockey because every other sport has had really, really good attendance.”

Otherwise Ballantyne says he’s received nothing but positive feedback with the crowd support.

“Yeah, across the board. I do see a few athletes on the street and I talk to them. Mostly through the mission staff, the 13 teams, all the organizations taking care of these athletes,” he says.

“When you’re dealing with problems like, can we get some more seats, can we do this, can we do that, to get more crowd in, these are good things to have happen.”

And Ballantyne expects the big crowds will spill into week two of the events starting tomorrow afternoon.

“I’m sure snowboarding is not going to disappoint. Freestyle did a great job out at Tabor Mountain and snowboarding will be out at Tabor for a few days. I think the Nordic Centre will continue to attract people.

Then there’s the sports many associate with summer.

“We’re bringing in trampoline, and remember, trampoline was the only gold we earned in London, 2012. Some of the racquet sports, squash, badminton and table tennis. People may not think table tennis is very exciting but it is extremely exciting.”

And then there’s men’s hockey.

“Hockey starts to compete right away (Sunday afternoon). It will be popular. It will grow as the week goes on.”


I notice he neglects to talk about the hockey attendance. It has been dismal. One game had 100 people at most. Also the gymnastics wasn’t very busy.

The finals will draw people in for the hockey, but the other games could have been played in Kin 2 to this point.

Actually he states that the Womens hockey attendance was not very good.

Not sure what he would consider as a good crowd. 50? 100?. We might get a better idea of attendance at these events during the second half, or perhaps when the ticket sales numbers are compiled.

Would have loved to go watch Women’s hockey but couldn’t get a straight answer from anyone (Canada Games staff)regarding single tickets. Venue Host literature says that you can’t use the single ticket ($5 & $10) passes at CN Centre or Kin 1. Tried phoning several places and Facebook. No concrete answer. I take the bus so didn’t want to show up and find I couldn’t get in. Would like to go to figure skating at Kin 1 but still don’t have an answer.

I was surprised to see the Native pavillion closes at 5 pm.. hmmm Not sure who staffs it, but the Band office is closed during the Winter Games so I’m guessing they are manning it too??? They should keep the pavilion open in the evening till the plaza shuts down

Gymnastics wasn’t busy??! Every time I was there it was full and I couldn’t get in. Had to watch archery instead which was actually very cool so it worked out well.
As bad as it sounds women’s hockey is not a draw no matter who’s playing. Personally I enjoy watching it but most don’t and won’t. The venue location also didn’t help. Given a choice between short track speed skating and women’s hockey most made the easy choice to watch short track.
Guaranteed some match up in all sports (ie. NL vs NWT) aren’t going to draw flies and that’s just the way it is but when BC has played the crowds have been very large in even more obscure sports such as wheelchair basketball. Even the wheelchair final was packed with hundreds sitting on the floor.

I thought the Native pavilion was open til midnight?? It was the two nights I attended over there. Maybe they took an early night one night??

Problems right from the get go ! We tried last week for tickets as well absolutely found the website to be not so user friendly! Sorry but for this once in a lifetime event for PG there are too many miscommunications leading to a bad taste for many locals especially when we are shareholders. Once the cost breakdowns are public many will be upset!

The best bang for your buck is to buy a Games Pass. It is good for both weeks and allows you to go to any event any day, any time (other than the medal match). It is $106 + tax. If your schedule is flexible enough, this is a great way to see everything. Some of the sports that I didn’t think I would be interested in turned out to be some of the best matches I have ever seen.

The Lheidli T’enneh Pavilion does NOT close at 5pm. The craft sales end at 5pm but other activities continue. The main entertainment does not even begin until 9:30pm.

You can see the schedule for the evening entertainment at the Lheidli T’enneh Pavilion at the Lheidli T’enneh – Host First Nation Facebook page.

I have enjoyed the first week with my kids aged 11 and 4. Luckily for me, my 4 year old is already a huge sports fan so he was able to take full advantage of his day pass.

A few large errors were made by games staff that have led to many other people staying away. Why are the prices all flat? No discounts for seniors? or youth? or even toddlers? 2 year olds are being charged the same as adults. Uh, really?

The other glaring goof is the decision to not sell single game tickets for hockey. You are forced to buy a day pass for at least that venue, $18. I want to take my 4 year old son to the game on Sunday, but we will need to pay $36. I am working most of the day and can’t take advantage of the day pass, my only free time is in the evening. To put this in perspective, my son and I can attend the Cariboo Cougars games for free, the Prince George Spruce Kings games for $13 total or the Prince George Cougars games for approximately $30 total. Old Stu, I think I have the explanation for why your hockey games have resembled Barkerville after the gold boom ended.

Realitycheck reread the story the only venue that did not have good attendance was the hockey all other venues were at or exceeded attendance

Mattp people arent staying away. they do sell single game tickets for the playoffs for hockey.. to put it in perspective… the winter games will never be back in PG.. can see all those other teams play hockey anytime you want any year you want. I think one reason there is less attendance to the hockey games is we can watch hockey anytime.. but speed skating… biathalon etc are rare for the city.. makes sense to attend sports you dont get to see every day.

Every sport i have attended so far has excellent attendance.. no one is staying away… cant wait for week 2.. to my gold passes already.

I feel so much better about us tearing down Kin1 after reading that the games ceo Ballantyne has endorsed the success of the new Rogers arena . It’s great that so many people came out and enjoyed the short track speed skating but the CN centre with the ice converted to international size would of also been great . The womens hockey would of been fine in the old Kin1 and the city could of spent the 15 mil on some of our aging roads and utilities .

Should be easy to get the number of daily tickets sold, which would give us an indication of the number of people attending the various events.

To me it looks like a lot of people left town on holidays, and a lot of people did not come to town.

There are a lot of restaurants and some motels that had high expectations, and basically had no increase in business, and in some cases an actual decrease.

So lets be realistic, things are not going anywhere near what they expected, and will probably get worse during the second week.

Its easy for them to state that their numbers are near their expectations, however they never told us what their expectations were.

Palopu , why would the numbers be worse next week ? I would think they would at least similar maybe with snowboard and men’s hockey better . but either way they aren’t likely going to be the $70-90 mil dream that the mayor was speculating last week .

I notice PG101 didn’t even read the article

Palopu, no it’s not easy to track tickets on a daily basis because lots of us bought week long ones or passes for the entire games. They don’t take numbers of spectators watching events either.

I have actually spoken to numerous restaurant employees and they have all seen an increase in numbers. The attendance is great except hockey, standing room only at times at other events. You should actually go to a few events so you know what you are talking about. My enjoyment of the games is above my expectations . I have talked to coaches and athletes from all over and they love it so far.

Some always need to find the negative. Must be sad lives they live..

P Val. I have talked to restaurant people also, and many have stated that there business is in fact down. Those hotels and restaurants that have been booked for the athletes and their managers, coaches, and families are doing fine. I suspect that would be the Ramada, Inn of the North, Days Inn, Casino, and Sandman. Others are not doing so good.

I know of some restaurants on the bypass that have seen no increase in business, and some of the motels have had vacancy signs up since the games began. Seems all the business is channeled to specific hotels.

In any event that’s the way it is. Most of these sports are not conducive to a high number of spectators, either because of a lack of interest, or because they do not have the seating capacity.

Lets keep in mind that in Prince George a few hundred people would be considered a big crowd, when in fact in the overall scheme of things a few hundred is nothing.

So once again when we try to get specific numbers, or specific information on these types of ventures, we are considered to be negative. Considering it is costing taxpayers over $15 Million plus we should at the very least get a comprehensive explanation as to where our money is going.

Reallyrick. I think you may be right that the numbers for the second week could be the same as the first week. There will be less athletes, and I was thinking that people will be getting tired of all the hoopla by the second week, however we will have to wait and see.

Yup we should do this again next year.
I want to thank the taxpayers of PG for paying for a 2 week party.
If you ran your household like the way the city wastes money, you would lose your home.
Don’t get me wrong, the games are a beautiful thing. The people who
dream up this stuff have no concept of money management.
Where and when do we draw the line.
Socialism is a very scarey thing.

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